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Website Design

Planning your business website

Originally published in 2010, this article on website planning and budgeting is one of our evergreen posts providing you tips and insight into how to plan your new website.

“What does a website cost?” is the first question we often hear from someone in need of a new site for their business. Frequently the people who ask this question are those who are just starting their business and fear spending more than they can afford.

What are the key questions you need to ask when planning your website?

Our response is most always, “What do you want to accomplish?” This key question is the foundation of the development of a website for your business. As the business owner, you need to answer these basic questions:

  • Who will be the primary audience for your website?
  • What experience do you want your site’s users to have?
  • What actions do you want your users to take?
  • What level of interactivity you wish for your site? Will you provide them opportunity for feedback? Customer Service Chat? Downloading of white papers or instruction manuals?
  • Who will produce the site’s copy / content?
  • Where will the images come from to illustrate your site?
  • How often will the site content be updated and who will do those updates?
  • Who will maintain the site?

We use this questionnaire to help our clients in the development of their website. We find it focuses everyone’s thinking during the critical planning process.

Should you use a purchased theme or template for your website?

Website templates abound, and while cheap and quick, they may not be the right tool for your business. Using a popular theme may leave you with a cookie cutter website. You will spend far more time trying to cause one of them to fit your corporate identity than if you’d started from scratch. You’re not a clone of other businesses, so why should you have a website which looks like everyone else’s?

But the bottom line is that you must know what resources you can allocate to the development of your web presence;  not only the dollars you allocate to pay for services, but the time you have available to be involved. Will you write copy? If so, expect to spend a very significant amount of time writing it. This takes time away from your business and may not be the best use of your resources. Do you want to take all the photos of your products or facility? If you want to do this, do you have the right equipment to produce the finest quality images that will represent your business well? Who will produce your videos? Each of these types of content require skilled professionals to produce the highest quality work which will help your site appear professional and enhance your reputation.

How can your website developer help you?

As with most designers and developers, Charleston PR & Design works with you to provide what you need and stay within your budget. However, you must have realistic budget expectations. How can you determine what you want to spend? Do your planning. Get quotes from several website developers. Ask other business owners whose websites you admire what they spent. Ask your CPA, business advisor or banker what they’ve seen as a typical expenditure for a business with your projections. These insights will help you get exactly what you need without overspending. 

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